About Us

The Friends of Stockton & Darlington Railway

Walking the LIne at Locomotion photo Jonathan Radcliffe

Our Shared Passion

The group was set up in 2013 to safeguard and promote the heritage of the railway, amidst concerns that what remained of the line was under threat from neglect and redevelopment.

Formed from a wide range of people from all walks of life, with a shared passion for our railway heritage and significant individual expertise, the Friends have a wealth of knowledge of the history of the line.

Become a member of the Friends and help us protect this world class heritage – join here.

The Friends of the Stockton & Darlington Railway is a registered charity and Community Interest Organisation. We are a group of people who care deeply about the railway heritage of the North East of England and want to see the 1825 Stockton and Darlington Railway line receive the recognition and the protection it deserves as the start of the modern railway network from which all modern railways across the world developed.

Promoting & Developing the 1825 S&D Railway Line

The Friends work with partners to identify, preserve, promote and develop the 1825 Stockton & Darlington Railway line as an educational, cultural and historic site of international significance and to develop its recreational, economic and tourism potential.

Stephenson's Gaunless Bridge

Planning To Protect The S&DR

The Friends monitor developments along the line, working with developers and local councils to ensure that new developments respect and where possible enhance the heritage of the Stockton & Darlington Railway.

Stephenson's Gaunless Bridge

Accessing The S&DR

We also assist in the development of walking and cycling routes to help people access places of interest along the route of the Stockton & Darlington Railway

Stephenson's Gaunless Bridge

Raising Awareness of the S&DR

We also raise awareness and understanding of the significance of our heritage, delivering and supporting talks, walks, and other events, and producing booklets and other literature for everyone from primary school children to adults, including community and corporate bodies.

By Railroad Era, is meant the era commencing with the permanent and successful use of the locomotive on the Stockton & Darlington Railroad, in England, in the year 1825, that has seen within less than sixty years, the iron track laid in so many lands, on which locomotives are performing their great work in the transportation and freight.” (Horatio Allen: The Railroad Era 1884 (recollecting his 1828 visit))

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Area Groups

The Friends have a number of Area Groups which encourage members to be more active in their local area. These area groups take special care of the S&DR remains on their patch and carry out litter picking, weeding, run guided walks and other social events and carry out research. We have Area Groups in the following parts of the S&DR:

  • Etherley and Witton Park
  • West Auckland and St. Helens
  • Brusselton Incline Group
  • Shildon (group not yet formed)
  • Newton Aycliffe to Whessoe Road (group not yet formed)
  • Darlington
  • Fighting Cocks and Middleton St. George
  • Stockton Interest Group (covers the whole route within the Borough)
  • Yarm Branch Group

Objectives of the Friends of S&DR

To advance the education of the public about the Stockton and Darlington Railway (S&DR) and its seminal role in the development of the modern railway through its national and international influence and the conservation of the structures, archives and artefacts of the S&DR.

Constitution of the Friends of S&DR

Our constitution is available to view or download here.

Trustees of the Friends of S&DR

ChairNiall Hammondniall@aenvironment.co.uk
Vice ChairProf. Alan Townsendalan.townsend@durham.ac.uk
PresidentMatthew Peasematthewedwardpease@btinternet.com
Vice PresidentChris Lloydchris.lloyd@nne.co.uk
Secretary (Non trustee paid role)Jonathan Ratcliffesecretary@sdr1825.org.uk
TreasurerIan Rossianross0545@gmail.com
Membership SecretaryPeter Bainbridgepeterbainbridge@ntlworld.com
Planning OfficerRoss Chisholmrandpchisholm@hotmail.co.uk
Education and Safeguarding Officer (2 posts)Vacant 
Editor and webmasterCaroline Hardiecaroline@aenvironment.co.uk
TrusteeNorman Hugillnorman.hugill@hotmail.co.uk
TrusteeBarry Thompsonbarrythompson007@hotmail.co.uk
TrusteeJohn Rawjraw2883@aol.com
TrusteeGeorge Aldersladesatire111@hotmail.com